Cocktail Sauce - The Best You Ever Had!

Cocktail Sauce - The Best You Ever Had!

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Cocktail Sauce and the Culinary History of New Jersey

by Chef Charles Knight

Cocktail sauce, a popular condiment often paired with seafood dishes, made its first appearance in the U.S. in the early 1900s at the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City. Delmonico’s also served a version of cocktail sauce as well.

Step back in time to the 1800s when New Jersey reigned as the ultimate vacation spot, akin to the allure of Disney World and Orlando today. The Jersey Shore resorts stood out for their fine dining, luring talented chefs and cooks from bustling cities like New York City and Philadelphia in search of employment opportunities and a reprieve from the city's summer heat. This sheds light on the culinary legacy of New Jersey, positioning it as a hub for culinary innovation during that era. It was in New Jersey that these cooks and Chefs had the unique opportunity to learn from local cooks, adopting recipes that highlighted the indigenous ingredients of the Garden State and then taking the recipe back to their respective restaurants claiming it to be their own.  

As a food historian, the key to unraveling the origin of a recipe lies in the geographic regions where the fresh ingredients were cultivated or produced before 1880 and the invention of refrigerated train car.

Although there are numerous Cocktail sauce variations the basic recipe is made from a perfect blend of tomato ketchup, Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Except for the Dijon mustard seed imported from France, all other ingredients were grown or readily available in New Jersey in the 1800’s

My rendition brings back memories of summers at Seaside Heights – Under the Boardwalk at the Beachcomber Bar & Grill and The Best COCKTAIL SAUCE You Ever Had!

EQUIPMENT: 1 Qt. Mixing bowl, measuring cup, measuring spoons

PREPARATION TIME: 5 Minutes – Makes 4 to 6 servings.

  • 1 juice of one small lime
  • 1 cup catsup
  • ½ cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Crystal hot pepper sauce
  • 1 juice of one small lime

I like to combine the ingredients in a 1-quart Pyrex measure cup. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve, with cooked shrimp, crab, and lobster, and raw clams and oysters.

For a twist add diced cucumber and Jalepeno